Blustery, damp conditions confronted the first bands on at today’s Scottish Pipe Band Championships at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton.
The picturesque park juts out into the confluence of the rivers Clyde and Leven and as such can be very exposed in high winds.
Today’s competition, the penultimate championship of the pipe band summer, is seen as an important pointer for the World Pipe Band Championships on August 11 and 12, though that must be tempered with caution.
Firstly many overseas bands will not arrive in Scotland until next weekend aiming to play at North Berwick, Bridge of Allan and then the Worlds.
And if we look back at Grade 1 last year we can see how results at the Scottish can have little bearing on what happens on Glasgow Green. In 2016 at Dumbarton, Inveraray gained four straight 1s making them Scottish Champions in G1 and hot favourites for the Worlds. In second we had St Laurence and in third Shotts. FMM were pushed to a lowly (for them) fourth – a full 13 points behind P/M Stuart Liddell’s band. Yet what happened at the Worlds? P/M Richard Parkes and FMM pulled yet another title out of the bag with scintillating playing over the two legs.
First results from today’s contest, featuring 140 bands, are expected anytime after 6pm. The best official results service is via the RSPBA’s Twitter feed accessed here.
The outcome will have a direct bearing on the Champions of Champions tables which for Grade 1 currently stand as:
It looks like a two-horse race between FMM and I’ray but a good showing from SLoT today and at the Worlds could affect the final outcome in that grade. In Grade 2 it is very much between Lomond & Clyde and Glasgow Skye. Read our preview of that contest here.
The promoters of the Scottish are West Dumbartonshire Council. Their blurb reads: ‘Around 25,000 people are expected to attend the Scottish Pipe Band Championships at Levengrove Park in Dumbarton on Saturday 29 July 2017. With the event being the largest free to attend pipe band competition in the world, it’s sure to be another bumper year for West Dunbartonshire.
‘This great family day out runs from 10am to 6pm and spectators can enjoy a day of Highland dancing competitions, a fun fair, a wide selection of trader stalls and, of course, the unmistakable sound of the pipes and drums from some of the best pipe bands in the world. That’s without even mentioning the spectacular sight of the incredibly skilled drum majors.
‘West Dunbartonshire Leisure in partnership with the National Charity Partnership will be hosting a family activity zone called Let’s Do It. The Glasgow Science Centre will be in attendance along with West Dunbartonshire Leisure’s Sport Development section who will be offering free fitness / activity sessions and advice on keeping healthy.
‘Clyde Shopmobility will provide FREE USE of mobility equipment such as mobility scooters to help people who have limited mobility or visual impairment to get around the site. They will be stationed adjacent from the highland dancing area.’
Dalreoch Railway Station and buses into Dumbarton High Street are both within easy walking distance of the park.
Trains run from Glasgow Queen St to Dalreoch Railway Station, which is around an 8 minute walk from Levengrove Park.
First Bus offer a service from Glasgow to Dumbarton. Visit www.firstgroup.com for timetables and pick up points.
Visitors are advised that park and pay facility will be available at the venue, however due to the high volume of visitors expected to attend the event, attendees are encouraged to use public transport.
• Stay tuned to Piping Press for our exclusive reports on the Grade 1 and Grade 2 contests.